A scheduled pre-trial hearing for the man accused of being the Claremont serial killer has been delayed after he was taken to hospital after suffering a “health issue” in prison.
Bradley Robert Edwards had been due to face a three-day directions hearing in the WA Supreme Court.
But at the start of proceedings this morning, Justice Stephen Hall said he had received information the 50-year-old had been taken to hospital.
Justice Hall said he had no further information at this stage, so he would adjourn the hearing until that was made available to him.
Mr Edwards is accused of murdering Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, who all vanished from the Claremont entertainment strip in 1996 and 1997.
He is also facing charges of attacking an 18-year-old woman in her own home in February 1988, and of abducting and sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at Karrakatta Cemetery in February 1995 – 11 months before Ms Spiers disappeared.
The body of the 18-year-old has never been found.
Ms Rimmer’s body was discovered at Wellard south of Perth two months after she vanished in June 1996, while Ms Glennon’s body was found at Eglington, north of the city, about three weeks after she disappeared in March 1997.
Mr Edwards denies all the allegations against him and has been held at Hakea Prison in Perth’s southern suburbs ahead of his trial.
‘Extreme porn’ evidence against accused
The directions hearing began last Wednesday and was adjourned after an application by prosecutors, but not before details emerged of “extreme” pornography prosecutors want to present as evidence against Mr Edwards.
State prosecutors want the judge-alone trial to consider it along with other “propensity evidence” – evidence which is not directly related to the alleged crimes, but might show past conduct relevant to the case.
State prosecutor Carmel Barbagallo revealed she wanted Justice Stephen Hall to view a video and a movie of pornography and BDSM which she was going to argue was relevant to the hearing.
“We’re talking about pornography that is extreme. There is no description I can give … that adequately reflects what’s in the material,” she said.
Mr Edwards’ defence team opposed the submission, but Justice Hall decided he would view the material.
It was also revealed in court Mr Edwards had taken part in a six-hour video recorded interview with police, which Ms Barbagallo also submitted should be viewed by Justice Hall.
In addition, Ms Barbagallo said there was “a prison call” which was part of recent material, as well as 20 other witness statements.
Other potential categories of evidence brought up at the hearing included “the Huntingdale Prowler”, “women’s clothing”, “Hollywood hospital” and “Telstra living witness”.
The hearing is also expected to deal with the defence team’s application for Mr Edwards to have separate a trial for two of the offences against him.
Mr Edwards’s lawyers had said they were going to seek to have all, or parts of, the directions hearing suppressed from publication, however earlier this month they withdrew their application.
Trial follows 22 years of questions
The nine-month trial will be the culmination of one of Australia’s longest running and most expensive murder investigations.
It included the setting up of a special police taskforce known as Macro, which was established on June 10, 1996, just days after Ms Rimmer’s disappearance.
Over the past 22 years, the taskforce has involved hundreds of officers and investigated thousands of people.
Mr Edwards was arrested at his Kewdale home three days before Christmas in 2016 and charged with the murders of Ms Rimmer and Ms Glennon, as well as the alleged 1988 and 1995 attacks.
He was charged with Ms Spiers’ murder in February 2018.
Mr Edwards formally pleaded not guilty in July last year to all nine charges against him.